Cutifani says Glencore tie-up a priority for Vale Base Metals

Mark Cutifani

VALE Base Metals (VBM) is prioritising a decision on whether to combine its nickel operations in Canada’s Sudbury basin with those of Glencore this year, a move that could reduce costs for both companies, said Reuters citing VBM chairperson Mark Cutifani.

“We’ve got some interesting thoughts on what is possible, (including) tailings (waste) and some of the old areas that could be redone and we are working through that,” Cutifani told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of the Future Minerals Forum mining gathering in Riyadh.

Talks for a Sudbury tie-up have been on and off since 2006, when annual savings were put at more than $500m, with a number of options being touted for the mining and processing operations in the area, said Reuters.

Nickel is a key component in electric vehicle batteries and mining companies have been trying to cut costs to produce it at a time of declining prices, the newswire said.

“During the course of this year we should work out whether there’s something we can do together or not. Certainly that is one of my priorities,” Cutifani said.

Glencore declined to comment.

VBM, the copper and nickel spin-off of Brazil’s Vale, and Glencore share boundaries in the 60km Sudbury basin.

VBM owns five mines, while Glencore owns the Nickel Rim South mine that is winding down operations after 15 years, and the Onaping Depth project. The assets also produce copper and precious metals.

“It makes sense to do something where we are sharing infrastructure,” Cutifani said.